Victoria Iphigenia… sounds good

4 Mins read

On the Radar — Chicago investigator VI Warshawski has the two most beautiful and mellifluous forenames in the history of crime fiction but as her countless fans know she is tough as teak. She returns this week in Brush Back. We also offer a detective who might be a carrot, a couple of books set in the bleak Pennines, a dark Norwegian tale of decapitated Barbies and plenty more. See which takes your fancy…

Brush BackBrush Back by Sara Paretsky
Hard bitten but beautiful Chicago PI Victoria Iphigenia Warshawski is up there with the greatest fictional investigators and deserved her place alongside Holmes, Marlowe and Poirot in our PI Case Files feature back in 2013. It seems scarcely credible that VI has been kicking butt since 1982, but here she is, as fresh as ever, in her 17th adventure. Back in the day when Warshawski was just a teenager growing up in a hard Chicago suburb, the mother of a boy she dated got serious jail time for battering one of her kids to death. Two decades later teenage crush Frank Guzzo reappears wanting Warshawski to investigate his sister’s death. We loved the previous book in the series, Critical Mass, and you can read what VI has been up to since then from 16 July.
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Addicted To DeathAddicted to Death by Matthew Redford
To say this is a food-related mystery is an understatement given that the cast of characters includes a Professor Partridge, Victoria Plum and a villain called McBeef. With a nasty murder taking place at The Strawberry Strip Club, Detective Inspector Willie Wortel – don’t say you didn’t know that wortel is the Dutch word for carrot – must solve all manner of mysteries, including the long-sought-after reason why the Bells of St Martins think they are owed five farthings. Bearing in mind that this London nursery rhyme ends with the couplet, “Here comes a candle to light you to bed, And here comes a chopper to chop off your head”, expect satire, foodie jokes, surrealism and sudden death. Published on 14 July.
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Dark BranchesDark Branches by Nik Frobenius
It may seem like a good idea when Oslo author Jo Udderman decides to write a sensational novel based on his own earlier life. His publishers and the media are expecting it to be a winner but when Udderman appears on a TV show to plug the book a chain of events occurs that makes him wish he’d kept his memories firmly locked away in his head. Decapitated Barbie dolls, dead squirrels, and poison pen letters are just the beginning. Past acquaintances – believed to be dead – turn up to haunt Udderman. His family is ripped apart and his sanity and life both face a serious threat. Dark Branches featured in our 15 big crime books to read this summer article, and you can see what all the fuss is about on 16 July.
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The Murder RoadThe Murder Road by Stephen Booth
A year ago, we reviewed Steven Booth’s previous book, The Corpse Bridge. The Murder Road is the 15th novel by the Nottinghamshire author to feature the detective duo of DI Ben Cooper and DS Diane Fry. The pair are temporarily separated while Fry is on special duties in Nottingham. When an HGV delivering feed to nearby farms is founded abandoned on a country lane with no sign of the driver and the cab drenched in blood, Cooper runs into the proverbial wall of silence from residents of the isolated and insular community. The Murder Road is published on 16 July.
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Bad SelfBad Self by Robin Roughley 
Just like the nondescript town in northern England in which he lives, copper DS Lasser is past his best, a bit frayed at the edges and could do with a lick of paint, metaphorical or otherwise. When he is left for dead after an apparently motiveless attack, he recovers to find that the streets are full of firearms officers searching for a killer who seems to be murdering for fun. With his personal life at an all time low, Lasser also has to contend with a increasing conviction that this case is not as simple as good guys chasing the bad. This is the eighth DS Lasser novel, and it comes out on 20 July.
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Kiss and TellKiss and Tell by Luke Murphy 
The Canadian former pro hockey player brings us his second novel, which is set in Los Angeles. LAPD Officer Charlene Taylor is still reeling from the murder of her father but is forced to put personal issues to one side to investigate the killing of a well known academic from UCLA. She knows who killed her father, yet she cannot nail him. The list of those who stood to gain from the death of Professor Ken Anderson is equally problematic as it includes people Anderson crossed in love as well as a mafia boss. In 2013 we featured the previous Luke Murphy book in our weekly On the Radar news bulletin, and his latest is available on 20 July.
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Gargoyle Pixie DogGargoyle Pixie Dog by Bill Todd
We’ll finish off this week with a book that could be the winner of title of the year. Gargoyle Pixie Dog features the latest Danny Lancaster novel plus six short stories featuring Bill Todd’s all-action detective. Lancaster is an Afghan War vet based in the south coast town of Brighton, and this time he’s asked by a man who sleeps rough to find another homeless woman who has disappeared. A nigh on impossible task? We took a brief look at his 2012 debut, The Wreck of the Margherita. In the short stories he also deals with a schoolgirl duped into some risque poses on her boyfriend’s phone, and an elderly gang boss who fears his past may be catching up with him. Available from 24 July.
Pre-order now on Amazon

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